Collaborative family lawyers help resolve divorce, non-marital dissolution, prenuptial and postnuptial disputes without resorting to adversarial techniques or tactics
• Collaborative family lawyers try to understand both parties and to achieve a fair outcome not only for their clients but the family as a whole
• Our core principles are a "no-court" pledge, a cooperative model of negotiation, and the use of neutral experts, when necessary to resolve conflict
What is collaborative law?
All negotiations take place in four-way conferences between parties and their attorneys. Each party has built-in legal advice and advocacy during negotiations and each attorney is committed to guiding the parties toward a reasonable settlement. Because no one, neither the parties and nor the attorneys, can go to court or threaten to go to court, settlement is the only goal. The parties are encouraged and helped to communicate their real needs and interests. Through safe and focused discussions, each of the parties is encouraged to recognize the needs of their children and the needs and interests of the other party.
What is the collaborative practice of law?
The collaborative practice of law is a way of practicing law whereby the lawyers for both of the parties to a family dispute agree to assist the parties in resolving conflict using cooperative strategies rather than adversarial techniques and litigation. Early nonadversarial participation by the lawyers allows them to use attributes of good lawyering frequently not utilized in the usual adversarial proceedings — namely use of analysis and reasoning to solve problems, generation of options and creation of a positive atmosphere for settlement.
How do lawyers operate in a collaborative law practice?
While no two cases or collaborative lawyers are alike, the emphasis in the approach is to find a way in which the lawyers can work with the parties that will achieve a satisfactory settlement in an efficient, cooperative manner. This might include "four-way" settlement conferences where the parties meet with their collaborative lawyers to work on settlement. Basically, however, your lawyers are committed to finding ways to achieve settlement that will work best in your case. Their philosophy is that as much effort should be exerted toward settlement as is traditionally spent in preparation for and conducting a trial.
What happens if settlement cannot be reached?
In the event the parties are unable to arrive at a settlement through a collaborative approach, the lawyers withdraw from the case and the parties are free to retain trial lawyers to pursue their matter in court.
Why should we consider retaining collaborative lawyers?
• This process is generally less costly and time-consuming than litigation.
• You are each supported by your lawyers and yet you work cooperatively with your spouse and their lawyer in resolving your issues.
• You retain control of the process. The process does not control you. The process is much less anxiety producing than court proceedings or the threat of such proceedings.
• Everyone can focus on settlement, without the imminent threat of "going to court."
• The possibility exists that the participants can create a climate that facilitates "win-win" settlements.
• The process is much less time consuming than the traditional litigation model. The case can be finalized within a short time after an agreement is reached---rather than getting bogged down waiting for court dates.
• Your case may be resolved with dignity, which may be of great benefit to the entire family.
• The parties and their lawyers work together as partners in the process, with the parties participating in a fully informed manner.